FAIRFIELD (CBS SF) – A Fairfield man who was a former chief financial officer for a company that managed auto dealerships pleaded guilty in connection to an embezzling scheme from his employer.
Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert’s office announced that 51-year-old Christopher Firle admitted to one count of wire fraud at a hearing on Tuesday. According to court documents, Firle misappropriated more than $1.6 million from the company from January 2016 through September 2019.READ MORE: COVID: San Jose Latest To Require Vaccination Or Weekly Testing For City Employees
Prosecutors said Firle carried out the scheme through several different methods.
With company credit cards, he paid more than $750,000 in personal expenses. Unauthorized charges included tickets to sporting events and purchases at high-end retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Hermes, Nordstrom and Tiffany.READ MORE: San Francisco's Filthy Streets Getting A Deep Cleaning; 'It Smells A Lot Better'
Prosecutors said Firle embezzled another $500,000 through more than 30 wire transfers to a family member. Meanwhile, Firle issued more than $165,000 unauthorized company checks to himself, withdrew $50,000 from a company account and issued himself nearly $160,000 in bonuses.
With his guilty plea, prosecutors said Firle agreed to pay restitution of nearly $1.94 million to his employer and forfeit another $1.65 million to the U.S. He also faces up to 20 years in prison $250,000 fine.MORE NEWS: Dixie Fire Update: Firefighters Battle To Save Chester; 'We Lost Greenville Tonight'; Lassen Volcanic National Park Shut Down
Firle is scheduled to be sentenced on October 19.